Spring Fling is to Spotlight All Our Awardees
To the Editor,
Friends of the Charlestown Navy Yard have been made aware that some folks plan to protest FCNY’s Spring Fling on May 23. Apparently, this protest is because of our selection of Mayor Wu as a community service awardee, the central issue being dissatisfaction with the St. Francis House proposal to convert the Constitution Inn into housing for, among others, formerly homeless individuals. FCNY has held this event for over twenty years as a way to bring the community together, socialize, and have the opportunity to recognize individuals for their contributions to the community. Also receiving awards this year are Sarah Coughlin, the former director of the Charlestown Coalition, and Courageous Sailing for their efforts to make our community a better place. We will also be awarding scholarships to deserving Charlestown youths, one in the name of Senator Lydia Edwards. Along the same lines, Mayor Wu is an award recipient for her efforts to deliver bold, systemic change and make Boston an inclusive city for all residents, as well as building a resilient future for Boston. FCNY proudly stands by that decision. This event is, and has been for over twenty years, a night to put aside differences, bring the community together in celebration, and an opportunity to know each other a little better by the time we leave. We are confident that there will be several other opportunities for the community to participate in public discourse about The Helm. We only ask that our neighbors be respectful and recognize that Spring Fling is to spotlight all our awardees, the scholarship recipients, and the community for one evening. In that spirit, we hope to see you all there!
Unfortunately, the Mayor has a conflict and will not be able to attend the event.
Building, Building and More Building
To the Editor,
As we look around our one square mile here in Charlestown, we are witnessing buildings currently being built, and many, many more being planned, thanks to Plan Charlestown.
The 2016 census in Charlestown showed 16,000 residents. The 2020 census grew to over 20,000 residents. The near future according to the numerous proposals will top 32,000 residents plus.
The average number of residents in Greater Boston is 14,000 residents per square mile.
Coupled with the office, biotech, labs, industry, retail, and hotels being planned, Charlestown will surely be over the top with people, traffic, less tree and green canopies, more heat islands, more air pollution, and a lessened quality of life for its residents.
As I write this, the number of proposed buildings / towers surrounding Charlestown will be more than 30 structures and counting. The height and number of floors range from 2 stories to more than 26 stories. As you might imagine, Charlestown will be forever changed, and our beloved historical district swallowed up by concrete and bricks.
Affordable housing is non-existent in the Seaport District. Now, trying to make up make for past mistakes, Charlestown seems to be the designated community with ambitious plans for more affordable housing. I am not against affordable housing and advocate for 20% or more but it is disingenuous that the developers are proposing more affordable housing at the expense of the Charlestown community.
The Boston Planning and Development Agency in their esteemed wisdom neglected to build affordable housing units and concentrated on luxury and market rate buildings in the Boston area. Now advocating for more affordable housing in their plans, this is nothing more than a simple ploy by the developers to garner support for their proposals.
Why am I writing this? This past week, the BPDA is seeking proposals for the Bunker Hill parking lots for yet, more buildings etc. And of course, their proposals will allow for more affordable housing which is a major selling point to the BPDA. The BPDA and their very short-sightedness is now a cause and major concern for more affordable housing in the Boston area. If they had done due diligence the past decade, we might now have an ample supply of affordable housing.
Sadly, the mayor didn’t listen to the 3,800, Charlestown petition signees, as well as the 270 online signers in their ask for a Master Plan when presented with the signatures in January of 2022. We collected the signatures, brought them to the mayor and have never heard a word about the efforts that many worked on. The mayor, simply, didn’t find it necessary to acknowledge the receipt of the petition, and thus there was no input or conversation regarding the pressing need for a Master Plan.
We are left with Plan Charlestown steamrolling one development after another, disregarding any “planning” for our community.
If no one speaks up now against the Bunker Hill Parking lots for a park, green space, more trees, and as a recreation destination for the 32,000 residents and counting in our one square mile, that to me, is more than sad, that is a poor outcome for the future residents of Charlestown.
We all need to let our voices be heard and advocate for a pause in the building bonanza now taking place before Charlestown becomes a future forever heat island.
Just as the climate is getting hotter and hotter and more prone to severe flooding, rising sea levels, and Charlestown having been built on filled wetlands, these factors portend a “perfect storm” brewing and could likely be the demise of this one square mile.
Come Together and Demonstrate Our Unity and Resolve
To the Editor,
We invite the residents of Charlestown to a peaceful protest of the ‘Friends’ of the Charlestown Navy Yard, Spring Fling, on May 23 at 6-8 pm at Pier 3 and Drydock 2 in the Navy Yard when the Friends of the Charlestown Navy Yard (FCNY) plans to honor Mayor Wu. As concerned members of Charlestown, we believe it is our duty to voice our discontent and demand change.
FCNY honors Mayor Wu even though Mayor Wu has consistently shown a disregard for the needs and well-being of the Charlestown community. We cannot stand idly by while our voices continue to be unheard or ignored. Many in our community feel the FCNY plan to honor Mayor Wu is misplaced, when Mayor Wu ignores Charlestown Community’s opposition to the conversion of the Constitution Inn into housing for the formerly homeless at the ‘Helm’. The St. Francis House and the Planning Office of the Archdiocese, over strong Charlestown Community opposition, plan to house people in crisis in our community without a coherent plan for needed services which people in crisis need to succeed.
The City Departments (including Mayor’s Office of Housing) have not budgeted in FY24 for the additional City services required for the ‘Helm’ or the more than 11,000 new residents, the BPDA projects under consideration will add to Charlestown (without the Austin Street parking lots). How can FCNY honor Mayor Wu who forces overdevelopment into Charlestown without a new or repaired Rutherford Ave, an additional ambulance, an independent police station and additional EMS and Fire Department staffing. This reckless rush to overdevelopment puts all Charlestown residents at risk. We ask our “friends” to help us; not to ignore our urgent concerns!
This protest is an opportunity for us to come together and demonstrate our unity and resolve. Together we can make a difference and create the change our community deserves.
Come to the protest for our Voices be heard on May 23 at 5:45 p.m. just say no to more development and Helm no.
Melissa Doherty Brennan